Dear Mary: My daughter is in junior high school, and we need to decide what to do about high school. She always has attended to public school, but the high school in our area has gone downhill. The curriculum isn't very competitive and the campus has been violent. I'd like to send her to private school, but I'm a single mom and can't afford it on my own. Can I get financial aid for high school?
-- Coleen, Illinois
Dear Coleen: Every child in America gets financial aid in the form of a guaranteed free public-school education. There has been a lot of talk about "school vouchers," which would provide funds for parents to send their kids to private schools rather than public. But so far, it's mostly talk.
Some private schools offer scholarship programs. Perhaps you could barter the cost of tuition by running school events or working for the school in some capacity.
Have you checked with your school district to see if your daughter could transfer to another public school within your district?
If neither of these options pans out and she attends the school near you, let me encourage you to get involved in the school. Join the parent teacher association. Volunteer whenever you can. Sometimes, staying and making things better turns out to be the right thing to do.
Do you have a question for Mary? Email her at mary@everyday